Recap: Media Relations Associate at Operation Christmas Child

The last 6 months have been quite crazy in the world of Operation Christmas Child!
Some highlights of my experience:

  • New York City Shoe Box Blitz
  • Family Day
  • Media Day
  • Completing my first pitch to the media via telephone
  • Recording hundreds of media hits that I helped make happen
  • Interviewing Tyler Weeks and sharing his dream of packing 100 boxes on his own (did I mention he is 10?)
  • Hearing Oksana, Vladmir and Livia give their testimonies on how a simple shoe box gift can change a life

Charlotte Processing Center

As media relations associate for the Lower Mid West and TX/LA regions, I’ve learned a lot about communications, pitching to the media and event-planning.

When pitching to the media always have numbers to back up your claim, know the local angle, and know your facts. These three things may seem obvious, but they are crucial in getting your story to the public.

  • Know your numbers – for example, whenever I had to explain what Operation Christmas Child does, I always used to show how big the project by saying the 2011 goal is 8.2 MILLION shoe box gifts. That got the attention of journalists.
  • Know the local angle – even though I was in Charlotte, NC and pitching to media in Houston, I would the media a local volunteer who they could speak to in their area.
  • Know your facts – like when National Collection Week is happening, what the hours of operation are for the local drop-off location and how many boxes will be collected in a specific community.

Franklin Graham

When writing your press releases and email pitches make sure your writing is fit to print. Many outlets just publish the press release you send them as is – especially when it has event information in it. So make sure your writing is easy to understand, and to the point.

As far as event-planning, be flexible and be as prepared as possible. Accept that lots of things will go wrong, but it is okay! Take notes so you will remember for next time! Smile. Even if you are not happy 100% of the time during the event, smile because it will put you in a better mood and help staff/volunteers to continue to be positive.

It has been an incredible experience working for an international nonprofit.

Packed shoe box gift

So…what’s next?

Well, I am still searching for a full-time position…but I am going to start interning at the Democratic National Convention Host Committee in the fundraising department in January!





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